Analytical Development and Application of Mass Spectrometry
G-actin has been nitrated with tetranitromethane in conditions that lead to the modification of one tyrosine residue. The reactive residue was found by earlier workers to be Tyr-69. The nitrated actin is conformationally similar to native G-actin, as judged by sedimentation velocity and circular dichroism analysis. A small proportion only is in the form of covalently linked dimers and trimers. The nitrated G-actin will polymerise to form filaments, indistinguishable in the electron microscope from those of native F-actin, but the polymerisation process is slower. Reduction of the nitrophenol group to the corresponding aminophenol leaves the properties of the protein in respect of polymerisation unchanged. When a dansyl group is introduced at the same point, however, the ability of the actin to polymerise is lost. The nitrated actin and its reduced counterpart will also bind heavy meromyosin, and the characteristic arrowhead formation of the bound molecules along the filaments can be seen in the electron microscope. Neither of the modified F-actins, however, significantly activates or inhibits the myosin ATPase activity. The fluorescence of nitrated actin is strongly quenched through the presence of the nitrophenol chromophore. In soluble complexes with heavy meromyosin the fluorescence is indistinguishable from the sum of the separate contributions of the two protein components. There is thus no measurable excitation transfer between any tryptophan residues on the myosin heads, such as that inferred to be present in the ATPase site, and the nitrotyrosine in position 69 of the actin sequence. Implications of this observation are considered in relation to the different interaction sites in myosin and in actin. The activation of heavy meromyosin ATPase by copolymers containing actin and nitroactin in different proportions has been measured, and is not proportional to the fraction of native actin. The results are consistent with the view that the function of actomyosin depends on the interaction of the myosin heads with more than one actin subunit.